As part of The University of Scranton, Jack Strain and Dr. Sufyan Mohammed not only educate students in our region about business and communications, they also help local businesses as the owners of Networks 365 Consulting. Sufyan and Jack use their professional experiences and work in the classroom to take an interactive approach engaging students and clients in good business and public relations practices. I had a chance to sit down with Jack and Sufyan to learn more about their business and how they have been able to help their clients.
Scranton Chamber: What services do you offer?
Jack Strain: We provide direct business consulting on advertising, public relations, and marketing. We are also packaging seminar training modules that will cover everything from customer service, social media, sales, as well as management training.
SC: Are your services only for big businesses, or can you help small businesses too?
Sufyan Mohammed: We can help large and small businesses with anything from supply chain management to how to create effective marketing strategies. Nothing can beat a fresh mind.
SC: How have your past experiences helped your business?
SM: I have been fortunate to have been a business owner before. My primary focus has also been on public relations and marketing. I have an extensive educational background as well as experience working with public relations firms in the United States, India, China, Japan and London.
JS: I’ve helped build divisions within companies from the ground up. I have both wholesale and retail experience throughout the United States and Mexico. I have also worked with a lot of small businesses, so I can identify with them.
SC: Is your expertise more research-based or experienced-based?
JS: I think Sufyan and I agree it’s a combination. Research is at the heart of our recommendations for our clients. We also use our past experiences as a base point. We recommend what we feel is best for our clients and we are honest with them. Our clients deserve the best.
SC: Why have you chosen to run your business in Scranton?
JS: We enjoy teaching students about the communications industry. We thought we could use our expertise to help businesses grow. There is a lot of opportunity in Scranton.
SM: I think there is a lot of talent within our area due to the variety of colleges and universities and the workforce. There is also a lot of potential for Scranton. We look at this region and envision what it can be.
SC: How can public relations practices affect a business?
SM: Most successful companies have invested a lot in public relations and establishing a brand. You need to have an integrated model to help build loyalty, trust and camaraderie with your customers.
JS: Public relations efforts allow companies the opportunity to shape and brand who they are and promote themselves in a way which provides marketing opportunities. Sufyan and I believe public relations can help shape a business. It’s an essential element for any business model.
SC: How has The Chamber helped your business?
SM: We believe without a doubt, The Chamber brings a degree of legitimacy and credibility. The Chamber provides a ready-made community that’s there for small startups. We’re a new business and I believe The Chamber will play an increasing role as we move forward. The networking and access to other members is incredible, especially since we are such a small city.
SC: Do you have any advice for others?
SM: The most important thing a business can do is create value. You need to communicate that value to your targeted audience and demonstrate that you are meeting their needs.
JS: You need to know what you do well and perfect it. But most importantly, know every facet of your customers’ needs. Connect with them to understand their strengths and weaknesses and what their true needs are. If you understand the true needs of your customers, your business is going to grow.
— by Amanda E. Marchegiani, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce